What Women's History Month Means to Women in Energy

What Women's History Month Means to Women in Energy

Members of Enel’s Women EmPower ERG share their stories to celebrate National Women’s History Month.

The path to net zero requires diverse experiences and perspectives. These make possible the critical innovation that propels the energy transition forward.

Women like Sophie Kapica, Development Manager, Northeast Region at Enel North America are eager to offer those perspectives. “As a relatively new industry, clean energy is an especially exciting space to grow my career,” she said.

“It’s probably the most exciting industry to be in,” Allison Miller, Manager, Energy Markets at Enel North America agreed. “I’m proud to be a part of this community...that’s making a lot of substantial changes.”

Each year during National Women’s History Month, we stop to celebrate and encourage women who have paved the way for gender representation and equality in business, science, art and more. With this year’s theme, “celebrating women who tell our stories,” members of Enel’s Women EmPower ERG shared their stories and experiences carving their own paths in the energy industry.

Gender Diversity and Equality in Clean Energy Is a Must

Lindsey Williams, Head of Marketing at Enel North America, was drawn to her work in clean energy by the opportunity to make a significant impact on the world for the next generation. In particular, by helping to mitigate climate change. “Being in a male-dominated industry means I get to set an example for my daughter that she can do anything she wants,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey’s approach is an effective one. Women are constant sources of inspiration for each other. Their role models help to illuminate what it is possible to achieve. Poonum Agrawal, Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs – West at Enel North America, for example, was influenced by her chemical engineering professors.

“Representation matters,” Poonum said. “It made such a huge difference to see female professors and women in the industry. They led the way for women at a time when it was even more male dominated.”

Though we have made progress since then, women still hold less than 30% of jobs in most clean energy sectors, according to E2’s 2021 Diversity in Clean Energy report. At Enel, we believe this imbalance cannot continue. We aim to increase female representation in our workforce to 40% by 2025, including both leadership and field positions.

As part of this goal, Enel is working aggressively to:

  • Increase representation of women in energy and facilitate discussions of gender equality within the company
  • Clear pathways for women’s career growth at Enel
  • Create benefits programs that support women at all stages of life
  • Invest in educational programs and scholarships that bring more women into clean energy roles

Promoting gender equality is everyone’s responsibility. Women need allies in companies, organizations and individuals to uplift them and ensure their needs are equitably met.

Increasing Representation of Women in Energy

Representation goes a long way toward promoting equality. As one of the leading companies in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, Enel’s ongoing commitment to the principles of gender equality and inclusion are deeply embedded into our business model. We practice gender-diverse hiring and recruiting practices to bring more women into our pipeline.

Once hired, we offer women safe spaces to share their thoughts and concerns, and we encourage connection on a broader scale through industry groups like the Women’s Energy Network and Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy that have chapters across North America.

“Women in energy face unique challenges throughout their careers,” Sophie shared. “It’s so important to make connections with other women across the industry."

Her own involvement in Enel’s Women EmPower ERG and the New York City chapter of the Women's Energy Network has taught Sophie to stand beside women making a difference in the energy field. “Through these organizations, I’ve learned how to support women who are also inspired to make a difference in the energy field and tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time,” she said.

Allison Miller also emphasized the importance of community and representation. “I’ve had a lot of great mentors at Enel, especially women leaders on my team. Working side by side with such a diverse team emboldens me to make changes and grow.”

Clearing a Path for Career Growth

Mentorship is built into our culture at Enel to ensure women can explore all the possible paths for their career to take. In addition to Enel’s general mentorship program, the Women EmPower ERG matches interested mentees to mentors within its ranks and hosts internal events, like career panels, to showcase the many different jobs and focus areas in clean energy.

Once a career path is decided, job shadowing opportunities and leadership and management trainings help to promote the presence of women on the Board of Directors and in management positions like Megan Beauregard, Chief Legal Officer at Enel North America.

“I am proud to be a leader of a company that shares my values and supports my needs as a woman working in clean energy,” Megan said. “[Enel] has a culture of looking for opportunities for people to grow. The availability for folks to learn, to grow, to become better at what they’re doing is almost infinite.”

Still, leadership positions in the energy industry are largely male dominated. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, the energy industry has accelerated its hiring of women into leadership since 2016, and is now hiring women leaders at the third-highest rate behind only the technology and supply chain industries. It will take a concentrated effort to continue this momentum and help women grow into more senior positions.

There are so many ways to be involved and make an impact in clean energy. My advice to women is to find a path that resonates or try different paths until one clicks.
— Poonum Agrawal, Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs – West

Tailoring Benefits to Support All Stages of Life

One such effort is to provide a benefits package that supports women as they progress in their career. Enel provides this by offering equal pay, social benefits and work-life balance solutions to all of our employees.

As part of one of the most competitive employee benefits packages in the clean energy industry, Enel offers up to 20 weeks of paid leave for birth parents, including 12 weeks of bonding leave. Our enhanced paid leave program supports women in energy at work and beyond, so they can focus on family while growing their career.

Poonum agreed that Enel’s approach to hiring and benefits supported womens’ career growth. “This mentality should be part of all industries and jobs,” she said.

Investing in the Workforce of the Future

Women have a profound impact on the energy industry. Their varied perspectives, backgrounds and cultures encourage diversity of thought and promote innovation. Increasing female representation in energy supports the social and economic empowerment of women as they benefit from the rapidly advancing energy transition. These are just two reasons why Enel continuously works to create an inclusive workplace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion at every level of our company and beyond.

By providing scholarships, STEM support and career mentoring to women coming up in the energy field, we promote curiosity and discovery among future women in energy.

To celebrate and support women during Women’s History Month and beyond, we encourage you to:

  • Grow your network in a professional organization: Groups like Women’s Energy Network and Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy have chapters across North America.
  • Connect with others in an employee resource group: Affinity groups like Enel’s Women EmPower ERG create a safe space to find support and discuss issues that pertain to women in the workplace.
  • Uplift the women around you: Whether volunteering a teammate for recognition, recommending a colleague for an open position or re-sharing and amplifying a post on social media — there are actions, big and small, we can all take to support women in energy.
  • Support women-led businesses: We can all look outside our own industries, as well. Enel recently partnered with Starfish Project and Pretty Peacock Paperie to provide appreciation packages to women employees in honor of International Women’s Day.